Old-Fashioned Baked Custard is definitely a comfort food, and the ultimate healthy comfort food. If you have never had an egg custard, you are in for a real treat.
I enjoy these custards anytime of the day, but I especially like them for breakfast as they provide a quick breakfast that provides you with protein and calcium.
Also check out my Low Fat Baked Custard (Old Fashion) – A low fat and low calorie version of the above Baked Custard. I made this version all the time, as I seem to be always trying to lose weight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Adjust oven rack to center position. Lightly butter (or use non-fat vegetable spray) six (6-ounce) custard cups and set them into a large baking dish. Tip: Place a non-stick baking mat (called a silpat) or a tea towel in the bottom of your baking dish to both insulate and keep the ramekins firmly in place.
In a large bowl, beat eggs slightly; add sugar, vanilla extract, and salt; beat until dissolved. Mix in hot milk until blended. Pour egg mixture into prepared custard cups. Sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon.
Bring the water for the water bath to a light simmer on top of the stove; carefully pour hot water into the baking pan to come at least half-way up the sides of the custard cups. The most common mistake people make in baking a custard is not putting enough water in the hot-water bath. The water should come up to the level of the custard inside the cups. You must protect your custard from the heat. Carefully pour hot water into the baking pan to come up the sides of the custard cups.
Definition of Water Bath or Bain-Marie (bahn mah-REE) - A hot water bath or bain-marie are used to cook custards and baked eggs in the oven without curdling or cracking, and also used to hold sauces and to clarify butter. Water baths are most often used for egg-based dishes. The proteins in the eggs are very heat sensitive and only need to be warmed to cook thoroughly. They will start to get firm at only 145 degrees F. Cooking them with a slow, gentle heat keeps the eggs soft and smooth.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until set around the edges but still loose in the center. The cooking time will depend largely on the size of the custard cups you are using and the altitude you are at. Begin checking at a half hour and check back regularly. When the center of the custard is just set, it will jiggle a little when shaken, that is when you can remove it from the oven. If using a digital instant-read thermometer, inserted in the centers, the internal temperature should register approximately 170 to 175 degrees F. Begin checking temperature about 5 minutes before recommended time.
High Altitude Cooking: Custards with a water bath will often need additional water during the baking time. Also your custards will need a longer cooking time because the altitude causes the water to evaporate faster.
Remove from oven and immediately remove cups from water bath; cool on wire rack until room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
Makes 6 servings (depending on size of custard cups).
* The amount of eggs used can vary according to your needs. When I make custard for dessert, I usually use 4 eggs. When making for breakfast, I increase the recipe to 6 eggs.
I get many readers asking what cooking/meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer. Originally designed for professional use, the Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer is used by chefs all over the world. I only endorse a few products, on my web site, that I like and use regularly.
You can learn more or buy yours at: Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer.
Comments from readers:
I came across your recipe for the baked egg custard today and it was so good! I have made them before, but they always end up being watery and rubbery. (I’m originally from the UK and love my comfort puddings!) Your recipe resulted in a smooth rich custard, I will definitely be using this recipe again and again! Thanks again – Sharon Harmatiuk (3/22/16)
Linda – I can’t express my delight and gratitude for the Old Fashion Baked Custard recipe. I was searching the internet for an old fashioned recipe that I was certain my 92 year old grandmother would like and thanks to you and your web site I found it. What a great alternative to add the additional eggs! So easy and tastes like grandma used to make in her glory days. Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!!!! She loves it! As an evening dessert and as breakfast. Now my only issue is keeping up with her supply and the supply for my extended family who, when dining with grandma, enjoy custard also. I now know where to search for great “old school” baking. Thanks a million – Dawn Moore